A discarded cigarette was the likely cause of a fire at a care home which left two residents seriously ill.
The blaze broke out at Standon House Care Home in Tamworth on Saturday night at around 11pm.
Fire scene investigators believe a discarded cigarette sparked the inferno, which led to 25 residents being evacuated.
Staffordshire Fire duty officer John Kitchener confirmed the fire began in an exterior smoking area.
Speaking at the scene, he said: “The smoking area is underneath a roof awning which was set alight.
“From there it spread into the roof in the central section of the building.”
Elderly residents were rescued from the Ashby Road home after the huge blaze tore through the property as they slept.
Emergency services evacuated the building after the fire was reported at around 11pm.
Six residents were taken to Good Hope Hospital and one to Queen’s Hospital in Burton to be assessed.
Two of the residents taken to Good Hope remain in a serious condition.
Residents close to the scene spoke of their shock following the late night blaze.
And they said police had gone ‘door to door’ asking for blankets during the incident.
One man, who lives, opposite, said: “I was still up and saw the blue lights but didn’t think anything of it because ambulances are always being called there.
“But then one fire engine turned up, then another and another and that’s when I knew it was serious.”
He said it took fire crews around three hours to bring it under control.
“Police were going round knocking on doors asking everyone for blankets,” he added.
Keith Hall, whose 91-year-old mother Irene has lived at Standon Hall for eight months, said the staff did a ‘first-class’ job.
“The carers rang me late on Saturday night and I came straight over and spent a couple of hours here,” he said.
“Thankfully mom is OK and, because of her dementia, didn’t realise what was going on and so won’t be traumatised by it.
“Before this happened we thought the staff were wonderful, but how they dealt with this has made us regard them even more highly.”
The blaze is understood to have destroyed part of the roof of the property.
A spokesman for WMAS said: “The property has suffered very considerable damage, but fortunately, firefighters and staff were able to bring all of the residents out of the building.
“After assessment at the scene by ambulance staff and the doctors, six patients were taken to Good Hope Hospital with a further patient taken to Queen’s Hospital in Burton.